Humans have been playing games together as a form of entertainment and mental stimulation for at least 5000 years, so it should come as no great surprise that the types of games we play and how we play them have changed over time. From the earliest examples of senet and the Royal Game of Ur to modern day MMORPGs and FPS titles, the themes, technology and complexity may have changed but our need for simple amusement and novelty remains the same.
So, what happens when you feel like playing a familiar classic game, but you don’t have the requisite board, pieces, software, tech or peripherals necessary to access it? Yes, you guessed it, he answer lies in the vast realm of the internet. It’s now possible to play almost any gaming title from any point in history as long as you have an internet-connected device, like a PC or smartphone. Some games may come with a price tag, but many are freely accessible and available 24/7.
Here’s a list of some of the best classic games from recent history, updated and improved for the 21st century gamer.
One of the most widely played card games in the world is, of course, the ever popular Texas Hold’em poker. Thought to originate from Robstown, Texas in the early 20th century, this variation on the classic card game is beloved by enthusiasts everywhere from Las Vegas to Macau. After you’ve brushed up on the rules, you can dive straight into a game through one of the many available online platforms, using either a PC desktop or mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet. These days, online poker platforms provide all sorts of features ranging from VR poker tables to live dealer games to no limit variants. This means that you can choose to shape your experience to suit your own preferences and goals, rather than being stuck with one dimensional gameplay. And all from the comfort of your own living room, too, if you fancy it.
One of the oldest games still in regular play today is chess, originally known as chaturanga and hailing from ancient India. Chess.com is the internet’s biggest online platform for the game, and it features all sorts of opportunities for players, whether they be beginners or chess grandmasters. Although not many people carry a fully equipped chess board around with them, it’s easy to access a virtual game from anywhere with Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection. Online platforms provide chess fans with the opportunity to play against opponents from all over the world and build up their skills; there are also many different variants of the game available, from Bullet to Crazyhouse to Fog of War. The recent surge in interest precipitated by the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit has seen a flood of new players flock to online platforms, meaning that there should be plenty of people to play against if you’re just starting out.
If you prefer words to numbers, then Scrabble is likely to already be your board game of choice. However, it can be difficult these days to get a group together in real life so that you can all sit down round the table for a game or two. This is where online versions of the game, like Scrabble GO and Words With Friends, come in. Whereas you can choose the multiplayer option in Scrabble GO on your mobile device and get stuck in straightaway, this app also provides logophiles with new word games and daily puzzles to complete. If you’d rather stick to a more traditional format, however, then Words With Friends allows you to pair up with friends or strangers and challenge each other to a classic Scrabble game, whether you’re at home or on the move. And, if all else fails, you can always tackle the daily Wordle puzzle over at the New York Times.